Preemptive Lieberman Launch?

Israel 'Won't Rule Out' Deploying Foreign Minister

By Tony Andwise

Published March 06, 2012, issue of March 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The threat of another Middle East conflagration reached new heights as Israel cranked up its rhetoric, threatening to send Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

“Israel does not seek war, but the security of our people is paramount,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister. “We will not rule out using Lieberman on Iran’s facilities. All options are on the table.”

Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.
Backward
Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.

Though international observers have long suspected that the Jewish state has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Israel had been coy on the subject until 2009, when Lieberman, the firebrand leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, was appointed Israel’s foreign minister.

Analysts say that the threat to deploy Lieberman suggests an escalation of the conflict.

“I think most people assumed that Lieberman was just for show, and that Israel would never seriously consider using him,” said Daniel Shabtai, an analyst at the Institute for Middle East Studies. “Even the threat of deploying such an explosive figure raises the stakes significantly.”

Though Iran does not deny that it has a nuclear program, it has long maintained that the program is for peaceful purposes.

“We just need an extra power source, that’s all,” Iranian spokesman Ahmed al-Birjani said. “Angry Birds has gotten really popular, and people need a lot more electricity for their iPads.” He added that the nuclear facilities had all been buried in reinforced concrete underneath mountains, “in case it rains.”

American officials warn that if Israel does, in fact, launch Lieberman, Iran could retaliate.

“Iran has been stockpiling its own extremists for years,” said Dora Bennet, assistant undersecretary for Mideast Affairs in the U.S. State Department. “If Iran decides to respond by dropping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a densely populated city like Tel Aviv, the repercussions could be catastrophic.”

Shabtai added that such a violent outbreak might leave Israel at a disadvantage.

“Although Israel has been stockpiling extremists at an increasingly rapid rate, they still can’t hope to compete with Iran’s supply of extremist mullahs,” Shabtai said.

In what some observers saw as a shot across Israel’s bow, Ahmadinejad recently warned in a speech that Iran could loose a rhetorical torrent that would “turn the land of the Jews into a raging holocaust… whatever that is.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.